(Guest Post by Craig Daniels)
Unmistakably clear, “Fanta Bananas, Fanta Bananas” rolled off the vendors tongue with a Latin flush, her rich lush delivery reaching me across the plaza. “Fanta Bananas, Fanta Bananas” she cried again and again hoping to pierce the self containment hovering over the crowd streaming into Fenway Park, this late spring afternoon.
Across Yawkee Way I watched the vendor repeatedly circle the stainless cart shouting “Fanta Bananas, Fanta Bananas,” for everyone to hear. What on earth was she selling I wondered, and equally perplexing, how would I ever cross the street. Thousands of people clogged the artery in front of me, pushing and jostling each other. I might be swept up in the baseball frenzy, never to be heard of again. Deciding to risk annihilation I stepped blindly into the crowd, and apologized my way across. People shoved me and groped me until finally, I stood face to face with the mysterious woman selling her mysterious wares.
“Fanta Bananas just for you,” she asked staring into my eyes, flashing me a look I felt in my gut. She paused, then deepening her gaze she continued, “they have a delightful flavor from the Fanta soda company.” I smiled at the sales pitch thinking if they were nearly as delightful as she was, I was in for a treat.
I was struck dumb for a moment by the feeling that I knew her, but dismissed the feeling and asked, “Can I get one in strawberry?” “One Fanta Banana with strawberry coming up” she said, and turned poking a banana on a stick deep into a red colored jar. After a few moments she pulled the banana out to reveal a wondrous sight, a deeply red gooey banana glistening like a jewel. The young vendor handed it to me while offering a bunch of napkins with her other hand.
It smelled of fresh strawberries, the fresh smell you only get in a strawberry patch. I bit into it slowly and let the syrup linger on my tongue. Beneath its glistening facade was a slightly gummy texture bursting with an earthy strawberry flavor, so darkly musty it became erotic. I reveled in all the nuances of flavor assaulting my mouth. I sucked and licked trying to extract as much flavor as possible, I didn't want its wicked sensations to end.
All the while I slurped the strawberry banana the young woman stood close to me with her eyes burrowing deeply inside me. She was probing, looking inside me, breaking down my walls, and I didn't care, I was transfixed on the exploding flavors themselves, warming me deeply from head to toe. She smiled.
“What do you think” she asked? “It was wonderful” I expressed while licking my lips hoping to find one last sticky drop to savor. It was then I noticed that the crowds were gone and only the young vendor and I were left in the street. The streets were deserted, no sounds, no roars or cheers came from the ballpark, the area was starkly empty. “What do you look for?” she said in a serious voice, “ people, where are all the people” I asked? “People,” she mocked my nervousness, “what people do you seek?” I really was nervous and started to move my feet up and down slowly getting ready to run, but I didn't run, instead I moved closer to her hoping to gain a physical advantage. “What's going on here and where are all the people” I asked again, while deepening my voice, letting her know I was serious.
Her eyes were pools of calm, inviting me to climb in, but her body was taught like a cat ready to spring upon it pray, I froze for a second and in that moment I lost any hope of gaining an advantage, she pounced, knocking me to the ground. Before I could get my bearings she was pressing her knees into my chest, her hands on either side of my head digging her fingers into my skull and with one quick jerk she turned my head to the left, forcing me to look directly into a swelling ocean wave thirty feet high about to crest, about to crush us both with its salty wall of water. I tried to scream, I tired to shake her off, but she held fast, urging me in repeated shouts to “look beyond the wall, look beyond the wall.” The water hit with a tremendous thump, roiling furiously at it smashed upon our bodies sucking us deep into a hot churning whirlpool of brackish salty sea, teaming with primordial life and, we were gone.
by Craig Daniels - flash fiction on the web